A Melbourne event promoter has come under fire after abruptly dropping every female artist from the lineup of an upcoming dance event in one go, with no explanation – although he has since made every effort to set things right.

Attendees noticed first of all that two acts had suddenly disappeared from the lineup of the Charades Melbourne Launch, before realising that those were the only two female acts that had been booked: DJs Roza Terenzi and Pjenné.

Understandably miffed, those following the event called out promoter Banana : Peach and its booker Nergal Youkhanâ, with one asking “Any info on this thinning of the lineup?” before another punter probed further, asking “Where did the Only 2 female DJs disappear to?”

Others quoted a post from Youkhanâ from 2016 in which he’d even stated, “I myself as a promoter try to champion women when it comes to building them up as performers through our events, booking them as the main support or the headliners at times,” made after attending the Women in Electronic Music conference last year.

I don’t want to make any excuses. I’ve made serious mistakes here and I will learn from them

Everyone was met with silence for almost 24 hours and assumed that Youkhanâ was hoping to sweep the issue under the rug, but he eventually replied to the queries, explaining that he’d been “in transit without internet”.

In this case, the explanation was one we often hear when people defend their lineups that feature a majority of male acts from the start: “I have completely overlooked this”.

In Youkhanâ’s defense, however, he went on to admit his errors in scrubbing both female acts with no explanation, falling on his sword completely, and noted that both acts have been offered replacement bookings at future events.

“Naively, what I have failed to do is recognise that I have taken two females off the line up leaving an all male line up. I have completely overlooked this. Although this was a genuine oversight, I should have recognised this.”

“I understand this oversight contributes to a larger problem in a male-dominated industry. There is no excuse and I have learnt a valuable lesson here.

He points out that the decision was made to change the scale of the event and cancel the planned side room, while acknowledging that this highlighted another unintended inequity in the booking.

“Although not my intention, putting Roza and Pjenne in the side room may have looked like a token booking. It was not meant to be but again I acknowledge it was another oversight.”

I understand this oversight contributes to a larger problem in a male-dominated industry

“I don’t want to make any excuses. I’ve made serious mistakes here and I will learn from them, will take full responsibility for these errors of judgement and will cop it on the chin.”

“Again, I am truly sorry for fucking up here and hope you accept my apology.”

Having explained the situation to everyone, attendees seem happy enough to accept the apology, with one replying with “All g Nergs, we all make mistakes”.

In this case, we’ve got to respect Youkhanâ for his response. While it’s still an unfortunate situation, some other people have been far less understanding in recent months of their responsibility as gig promoters.

The gender bias in electronic music is ridiculous, with only 16% of acts on recent festival lineups including even one member identifying as female and, whatever people say about “just booking good acts, regardless of gender”, but it’s going to take a concerted effort to change that statistic.

The full statement from Nergal Youkhanâ, as it appears on the event page, can be read below.

Hi all,

Sorry for not replying to this earlier, I’ve been in transit without internet.

The reason that we cancelled Pjenne and Roza was because we recently decided not to do a second room at the party. This was cleared with the agents and artists on the proviso that we would book them another show in the near future with arrangements already in place as we made the cancelations.

Naively, what I have failed to do is recognise that I have taken two females off the line up leaving an all male line up. I have completely overlooked this. Although this was a genuine oversight, I should have recognised this and made some different decisions around cancelling the side room. I understand this oversight contributes to a larger problem in a male-dominated industry. There is no excuse and I have learnt a valuable lesson here. Furthermore, although not my intention, putting Roza and Pjenne in the side room may have looked like a token booking. It was not meant to be but again I acknowledge it was another oversight. I also removed myself from the line up at the same time, but this has not been reflected in the current promotions.

I don’t want to make any excuses. I’ve made serious mistakes here and I will learn from them, will take full responsibility for these errors of judgement and will cop it on the chin.

Again, I am truly sorry for fucking up here and hope you accept my apology.

Nergs

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